Nicole Kendall

Thames Valley Harriers positive as they begin title defence

The team manager of Thames Valley Harriers is optimistic as the club prepares to begin their campaign to retain the National Athletics League title in Cardiff on Saturday.

Manuel Da Silva is calling upon many of the loyal servants who helped the London-based outfit to wins in four matches during last year’s inaugural edition of the league.

Nicole Kendall, who set two league records last season, and 2021 UK No.1 Chris McAlister, who had two individual wins, are set to be starring for TVH in the 400m hurdles.

Recent World Indoors representative Amelia Strickler will be hoping for top points for them in the shot. Ireland’s Roisin Harrison, who also competed in Belgrade, should be in their 400m roster. European Indoors competitor Joel Khan is set to line up in the high jump, while Mohamud Aadan goes over 3000m following his third place at the Vitality London 10,000. Last weekend’s BUCS champions Jack Paget (hammer) and Toni Ademuwagun (high jump) will hope to continue winning ways. European under-23 pole vault silver medallist Molly Caudery is another set to make a return to the league.

Da Silva is keen to continue his club’s success in recent years in the NAL and UK Women’s League. He said: “If you include last year’s NAL, TVH women’s team have been national champions five times in the last six years (and the last four years running). I am delighted that our men’s team looks to be equally strong this year with more of our top men wanting to compete in NAL. We are hoping our team will get good competition from other clubs this year as it has moved to the more traditional eight-team format.

“It’s a very similar team that we’ve had for the last five or six years. I’m expecting big points throughout the team, especially in some of our exceptionally strong events; the 400m hurdles, hammer, pole vault. high jump and triple jump. We are all looking forward to a great start to the season on Saturday with many of our athletes using NAL matches to set their qualifying times or distances for upcoming major championships that they are targeting. It should be a great day of athletics for all.”

TVH will face hosts Cardiff, Harrow, Newham & Essex Beagles, Notts, Southampton, Swansea and Woodford Green with Essex Ladies.

The other opening Premiership match at Sport City will be the first to be live-streamed by Vinco. Hosts Trafford will take on Birchfield Harriers, Blackheath & Bromley Harriers, Bristol & West, City of Sheffield & Dearne, Glasgow Jaguars Track and Field Club, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers and Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow. The Championship matches will take place at Kingston upon Thames and Chelmsford, while the other division is National 1, of which the first match goes ahead at Milton Keynes.

This year’s scoring returns to a more traditional format, with athletes registering points for their club based on positions, contributing towards an overall club total for each match. Clubs will compete in a round-robin format, unlike last year when the same four clubs repeatedly met each other. Thirty-eight clubs will compete over the three divisions with promotion and relegation at stake at the end of the year. Unlike the British Athletics League and UK Women’s League, which the NAL replaced, clubs put out combined men’s and women’s teams.

After this Saturday, Vinco will also cover one Premiership match in each of the next two rounds on June 4 and July 2, plus both Premiership and Championship finals at Bedford on August 20-21. The established track and field streaming service is offering it as part of its new Vinco Plus subscription service, with a “season ticket” priced at £14.95 – visit for more.

Team declarations, which may be incomplete and subject to change, are available from Open Track, who will also be providing live results this year.

Round-up of the top athlete declarations (as of midday Friday).